There is the theory of creative limitation saying that limiting yourself to a single mean of expression or technique – one instrument or style of playing in music, one technique of painting or one lens or technique in photography – can make you more creative and make you see things differently. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t believe this to actually work, but a couple of months ago I decided to try and use focal lenses that I don’t use so often. For me it means using tele lenses more and searching for scenes I usually ignore. I think this affected the way I see a frame and compose a shot, the way I search for subjects and points of interest in images. I’m pretty content with the results so I’m going to try and experiment further with different mindsets.
The photo that I chose to illustrate this article was taken with a 70-300 mm lens at 70mm. On one side the sun was setting and on the opposite side the moon was just rising above a tree. The terrain didn’t allow me to change my position too much and if I would have chosen a wider lens the moon would have only been a small dot in the frame. So I shot it just above a nearby tree with green branches and thought that less of the tree would make for a simple minimal and modern aesthetic.
I dug up this winter photo from the archives, as it was made in 2008. I always liked winter because to me it’s the most special season of them all because it has snow and you can’t really beat that 🙂 Of course that shooting in the snow and cold makes things more difficult (more on that in a future post), but it’s totally worth it. I am usually searching for dreamy scenes and winter is great for them, so it’s only natural that I have a lot of dreamy winter photos.
This photo was taken at the beginning of my serious photographic endeavour, and it struck me after some years that the elements that I search for in a photo are there: the dreamy scene, a natural setting, the human element that gives a sense of scale/lost/awe. It has an eerie lost atmosphere to it, and it seems that the tree is almost in the middle of nowhere. It is a great way to attract the viewer and make him remember the photo, because at the end of the day it is a feeling that makes an image special and this is why I like atmospheric nature photography, and this is why I search for the scenes that make you feel something.
I don’t usually capture photos of wildlife, but in my search for special moments in nature I got a glimpse of them a few times. It’s always like seeing a chimera, a ghost. I know it’s something that many never see and that I don’t see everyday. I also know that these sightings get fewer as time goes by and as we humans destroy the places that wild animals inhabit, so it becomes more and more like seeing a ghost. I feel that I am wittnessing something rare. This is why this feels a bit bittersweet to me.
I was out in the woods in winter photographing when snow started to fall. I started shooting with a tele lens to get the dreamy snowflakes in the frame, and after a couple of minutes I saw this wild deer trough the trees. It didn’t take long before it noticed me and got further and further away from me, but I managed to capture the photo above, along with others. The trees made everything even more difficult, but I like how in the end the tree trunks frame the deer and also the fact that the dark trees contrast with the snowflakes falling. It truly was a magical moment.
It seems that the folks at Stocksy appreciated this special moment too, so now it is available for licensing here.
I’ve had this photo added to the curated feed recently on Stocksy.
I’m glad others like it too, because I feel that it has a special winter fairy tale atmosphere. It is a photo taken in 2012, but I couldn’t find the perfect balance when editing it until now, so it spent almost 4 years in the making.
Even tough this doesn’t happen with all my photos, I do spend a lot of time getting everything right, and getting the right feel trough a discrete enough editing. Not to mention the planning of the trip, getting there and actually taking the photos in the right conditions.
Quality does need time, unfortunately the world has less and less time for quality. Just think about how quickly a new book, a new album or a new movie gets obsolete. Everyone just wants the next one and so on. There’s too little place for soul in art nowadays.
There’s been some cold and rainy days where I live. Good for photography but really bad for the equipment and the photographer. The photo above was taken last year, on a similar cold and rainy autumn day. The raindrops flying trough the air are visible in contrast to the dark forest, and the last leaves on the branch give a sense of a late autumn. Sometimes the atmosphere is in the little details. I love the autumn rain, but I do hope the weather gets better – I had to postpone a photo tour because of it.
This moody autumn detail is available for licensing at Stocksy.
This year I’ve got caught by the rain a lot while out on the mountain. The rain is bad for the photographer and gear but really good for the photographs. After waiting for almost a day for the rain to stop, I was given to see with this image of the mist rising from the pine tree forest, the mysterious landscape changing every second. It was worth it.
The forest is an enchanted place filled with wonder and mystery. When fog descends on to the trees time seems to move at a different pace from the outside world. Every step takes the traveler deeper into the woods and closer to a mysterious, dark and surreal world, where everything is possible. One can almost see the mythological creatures sneaking trough the forest and watching him from behind the trees. This is the realm where the legends are born, where the line between reality and fantasy is erased and where imagination is running wild.
I’ve been exploring the wonders of the forest alongside my brother for as long as I can remember. “Mysterious Forests of Transylvania” is a fine art coffee table book that focuses on the mystery and atmosphere of the enchanted woods that we spent so many days in. We want to bring the magic of the forest for the whole world to see.
You can get it in hardcover or paperback format, 10×8 in, 25×20 cm, 48 Pages on Premium Matte paper, and you can also get a preview here:
I’ve always found interesting how different people see different things in a photo. Some look at the photo above and see a man walking out of a forest, some see the man entering the forest, a person with imagination could say that this is an apparition of a ghost in a surreal forest. A sad person could say that the man in the picture is walking sadly at sunset. An insecure person could say that it’s a photo of a man lost in the woods. A single image can be interpreted differently by different people.
The way we perceive reality differs, so our interpretation of art differs too. I think art is the interpretation of reality through the mind of the artist. But the result is also subject to interpretation. So everybody takes from art what they need at a certain moment in time and space.